500 Years Ago…“Let Us Find the Truth!” (5)

Calvin was amazed. He was so new to the faith himself, and yet so many people risked their lives to come hear him teach and preach! He was amazed, but he understood. They loved the truth their thirsty souls had never known before the Reformation began to dawn. And now, so did Calvin. And Calvin loved them, too. They were Frenchmen together, but they were much more—they were brothers and sisters in the truth and in the Lord. Yes, John Calvin had many friends in Paris.

And one was more notable than most—Nicholas Cop. Calvin had been a longtime friend of the Cops. Though he was young, Nicholas held the high position of rector of the university in Paris. As such, he had to preach the sermon for All Saint’s Day on November 1. But Cop had begun to have Protestant convictions, too. And he knew Calvin was in town. He asked his gifted friend to help him with his sermon. Cop thought it was time to be more open about unmerited grace.

The doctors of the university did not think so. They were enraged over Cop’s sermon. They said they would give the rector a fair trial, but word came to Cop on his way to parliament that they would never let him go. He cast off his rector’s robes and became lost in the crowds of the city. He barely escaped with his life.

And what of John Calvin who had helped him?

Bailiffs were at the door.

“Calvin, you must leave—now!”

Friends stalled the bailiffs while others helped Calvin tie bed sheets together for a rope and let him down out of the second story window of the room. He ran to another friend who owned a vineyard outside the city. He dressed in the friend’s work clothes, put a hoe over his shoulder, and strolled down the road towards Noyon. The French authorities never found him.

But more truth-thirsty Protestants surely would.